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  #21  
Old 09 April 2013, 04:38 PM
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Tootsie Plunkette Tootsie Plunkette is offline
 
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No

Of the various men I've found attractive, I've seen relatively few of them in the unclothed state. And even so, I don't think I ever spent much time pondering the size of the bulge in their pants.
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  #22  
Old 09 April 2013, 05:00 PM
Nick Theodorakis Nick Theodorakis is offline
 
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Ryda Wong, EBfCo. View Post
...
Frankly, this tendency for studies to push an evolutionary explanation on things such as perceived attractiveness gets awfully old.
Most "evolutionary explanation on things," especially for behaviors, are little better than "just so stories."

I noticed if you type "evo psych" into the google search box, the first term the suggestion server comes up with to add to the phrase is ""evo psych bullshit."

Nick
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  #23  
Old 09 April 2013, 05:09 PM
Ryda Wong, EBfCo. Ryda Wong, EBfCo. is offline
 
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Oh, indeed. It's annoyed me for a decade or so now.

But it sells! And it makes a great excuse for maintaining stereotypes.
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  #24  
Old 09 April 2013, 05:55 PM
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Richard W Richard W is offline
 
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Sexual selection is a perfectly valid potential mechanism for evolutionary trends... it annoys me when people dismiss it on dogmatic grounds because they dislike their own misunderstanding of the implications. It seems rather like creationism to me.

It wouldn't even matter whether the hereditary preference was somehow "genetic" or "cultural" for the mechanism to work. (The penis size would have to be genetic in this case, but the preference wouldn't as far as I can see.)
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  #25  
Old 09 April 2013, 06:11 PM
Ryda Wong, EBfCo. Ryda Wong, EBfCo. is offline
 
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Originally Posted by Richard W View Post
Sexual selection is a perfectly valid potential mechanism for evolutionary trends...
Who on earth said it wasn't?

Quote:
it annoys me when people dismiss it on dogmatic grounds because they dislike their own misunderstanding of the implications. It seems rather like creationism to me.
It would me as well. However, no one here is doing this.

Quote:
It wouldn't even matter whether the hereditary preference was somehow "genetic" or "cultural" for the mechanism to work.
The point of my quibble here is that there is NO SUGGESTION in the data as presented that this is evolutionary at all. The study found that a small and very specific data set of women expressed preference for/attraction to larger cocks. Bringing some sort of evolutionary perspective into the study as anything other that one potential explanation no more valid than any other is completely unfounded and unwarranted.
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  #26  
Old 10 April 2013, 03:02 AM
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ganzfeld ganzfeld is offline
 
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Perhaps that would be true if it were the only study ever done on this subject.
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  #27  
Old 10 April 2013, 04:15 AM
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Hero_Mike Hero_Mike is offline
 
 
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How big of a picture are they showing? Assume the man in the pictures was 6 feet tall. Something under 3 inches would be 1/24 or about 4% of the height of the man, and probably less than the full page. In other words, how much detail can someone see? If it's less than, say, 3% of the whole picture, maybe some women assumed it wasn't meant to be "anatomically correct"?
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  #28  
Old 10 April 2013, 08:28 AM
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Richard W Richard W is offline
 
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Ryda Wong, EBfCo. View Post
The point of my quibble here is that there is NO SUGGESTION in the data as presented that this is evolutionary at all. The study found that a small and very specific data set of women expressed preference for/attraction to larger cocks. Bringing some sort of evolutionary perspective into the study as anything other that one potential explanation no more valid than any other is completely unfounded and unwarranted.
True, that objection isn't like creationism. It's more like climate change scepticism, in which the critics alternately argue that there's no evidence of change to support the model, and that just because there's evidence of a change doesn't mean a valid model exists, generally while ignoring everything but the one study they're discussing...
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  #29  
Old 10 April 2013, 08:44 AM
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Don Enrico Don Enrico is offline
 
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Hero_Mike View Post
How big of a picture are they showing?
From the article:
Quote:
So Mautz and his team, working at the Australian National University, designed an experiment in hopes of settling the controversy. They created 49 unique, computer-generated, nude, life-sized male figures. Each figure varied in three traits: height, shoulder-hip ratio and flaccid penis size.
(bolding mine)
I understand that the pictures/figures where presented in actual life-size to the women.
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  #30  
Old 10 April 2013, 03:41 PM
Ryda Wong, EBfCo. Ryda Wong, EBfCo. is offline
 
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Richard W View Post
True, that objection isn't like creationism. It's more like climate change scepticism
Oh, bull pucky.
If the science on climate change were as shaky and fraught with issues as the evo psych literature on things like this, skeptics of climate change would have a real point.
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  #31  
Old 10 April 2013, 03:47 PM
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It is more like those that claim that global warming exists but that it is not caused or exacerbated by human activities. They are taking one of the causes of something and declaring it to be the main (or only) cause with little evidence to show how they excluded the other cause(s).
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  #32  
Old 10 April 2013, 03:49 PM
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ganzfeld ganzfeld is offline
 
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Ryda, why do you suppose the literature inappropriately attributes possible causes to evolution? I mean, what would be the motivation for that alleged bias?
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  #33  
Old 10 April 2013, 04:29 PM
Ryda Wong, EBfCo. Ryda Wong, EBfCo. is offline
 
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Quote:
Originally Posted by ganzfeld View Post
Ryda, why do you suppose the literature inappropriately attributes possible causes to evolution? I mean, what would be the motivation for that alleged bias?
It could be many things. It could be an overly narrow understanding of human behavior and how human behavior is formed. It could be an over-dependence on the notion of nature rather than nurture. It could be that it reinforces the biases of the researchers themselves.
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  #34  
Old 10 April 2013, 04:38 PM
Nick Theodorakis Nick Theodorakis is offline
 
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Another ugly example of the abuse of Evolutionary Psychology
(by PZ Myers)
Quote:
I have to take one more slash at evolutionary psychology, and then I’ll stop for the day. But first, maybe I should give you the tells I use to recognize good evopsych from bad evopsych (oh, dear, I just admitted that there’s some respectable evopsych out there…).
Is Evolutionary Psychology Total, Utter, and Dangerous Bullshit?
From Psychology Today

Quote:
As you know, class, I am quite skeptical of evolutionary psychology. I was so struck by Dr. Kanazawa's recent evolutionary psychology post claiming that smarter people binge drink more (which was on the most popular list for weeks), that I commented on it in PT blogs, then posted about it on Huffington Post....
A "friendly" article:

5 Ways to Make Progress in Evolutionary Psychology: Smash, Not Match, Stereotypes
From Scientific American

Quote:
Evolutionary psychology, the study of human psychological adaptations, does not have a popular or scientific reputation for being rigorous, even though there are rigorous, thoughtful scientists in the field. The field is trying to take on an incredibly challenging task: understand what of human behavior is adaptive and why. We can better circumvent the conditions that lead to violence, war, and hatred if we know as much as we can about why we are the way we are. What motivates us, excites us, angers us, and how can evolutionary theory help us understand it all?

Because of this, there are consequences to a bad evolutionary psychology interpretation of the world. The biggest problem, to my mind, is that so often the conclusions of the bad sort of evolutionary psychology match the stereotypes and cultural expectations we already hold about the world: more feminine women are more beautiful, more masculine men more handsome; appearance is important to men while wealth is important to women; women are prone to flighty changes in political and partner preference depending on the phase of their menstrual cycles. Rather than clue people in to problems with research design or interpretation, this alignment with stereotype further confirms the study. Variation gets erased: in bad evolutionary psychology, there are only straight people, and everyone wants the same things in life. Our brains are iPhones, each app designed for its own special adaptive purpose.
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  #35  
Old 10 April 2013, 04:52 PM
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crocoduck_hunter crocoduck_hunter is offline
 
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Yeah, that.
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  #36  
Old 10 April 2013, 08:16 PM
fitz1980 fitz1980 is offline
 
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Tootsie Plunkette View Post
Of the various men I've found attractive, I've seen relatively few of them in the unclothed state. And even so, I don't think I ever spent much time pondering the size of the bulge in their pants.
Clothing is a pretty recent development when talking about the evolution of humans. Heck it wasn't until a few hundred years ago that native people in equatorial areas were told by Christian missionaries that they needed to wear clothes to be "decent."
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  #37  
Old 10 April 2013, 08:45 PM
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A Turtle Named Mack A Turtle Named Mack is offline
 
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Originally Posted by fitz1980 View Post
Clothing is a pretty recent development when talking about the evolution of humans. Heck it wasn't until a few hundred years ago that native people in equatorial areas were told by Christian missionaries that they needed to wear clothes to be "decent."
I think that was pretty much limited to getting women to cover their breasts. From what I have seen of documentaries on largely-unaffected hunter-gatherer equatorial populations skirts and/or loincloths are very typical. Even if not for modesty, such garb protects: when sitting, when the sun is strong, when the bugs are biting, when the briers would scratch, etc.
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  #38  
Old 11 April 2013, 12:06 AM
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Originally Posted by fitz1980 View Post
Clothing is a pretty recent development when talking about the evolution of humans. Heck it wasn't until a few hundred years ago that native people in equatorial areas were told by Christian missionaries that they needed to wear clothes to be "decent."
That's limited primarily to people who live in climates where it's warm enough year-round that there's no need for extra insulation, and even then many of the various tribes that live in such regions will wear a little bit of clothing to provide protection from things like thorny plants. Outside of the equatorial band, clothing has been worn for tens of thousands of years: remember, Homo sapiens dispersed around the globe during an ice age when average global temperatures were lower than they are today and they'd have had more rather than less need for insulation. And that's far more time than is necessary for a trait to evolve if there's sufficient evolutionary pressure: sheep and goats have only been domesticated for about 10,000 years and cattle for roughly 6,500 years, but that was enough time for genes that allowed adults to digest lactose to proliferate among the peoples who kept those animals for milk.
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  #39  
Old 11 April 2013, 12:11 AM
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ganzfeld ganzfeld is offline
 
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Like Richard W's comment, I find it a bit disturbing that people supposedly supporting science would criticize a whole field (in which they've never even published) based on the works of a few crackpots in that field.

Perhaps more disturbing is the suggestion that something other than evolution has created human behavior without explicitly defining what that is. Just because there isn't a gene for it doesn't mean it's not constrained by exactly te same evolutionary processes as every other animal.
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  #40  
Old 11 April 2013, 07:53 AM
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Ryda, there's a whole branch of climate change scepticism that you can basically sum up as: "If somebody is talking about the model, deny that there's evidence. If somebody is talking about evidence, deny that there's a model. Avoid acknowledging any context to the most recent piece of work."

That's essentially the argument you were using in the post I quoted, and it's a bad argument regardless of what you're actually talking about or using it against.

And one of the aspects that I think is similar to creationism is the idea that humans are suddenly no longer subject to evolution. In fact that's pretty much directly a creationist argument - animals evolved, but people are special.

Another aspect that is similar to creationism is the argument that because Social Darwinism is pretty nasty, Darwin himself must have been wrong and therefore evolution by natural selection is wrong. This is less specific to creationists but it certainly seems to be one of the ideological objections they have to evolution. The idea that Social Darwinism can be wrong without affecting the rest of it doesn't seem to be recognised. It also conflates moral "wrongness" with factual inaccuracy.

Honestly, is the first comment in that xkcd cartoon representing "science" to you? (eta) It was Nick that posted it, but it's the sentiment I believe you're arguing against.
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